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The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau Partners with Fourteen New Orleans Hotels to
Grow the Corporate Meetings Market
NEW ORLEANS, LA - (November 2003).  The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (NOMCVB) has partnered with fourteen New Orleans hotels to grow the corporate meetings market in New Orleans. Focusing on a new branding position, this hotel initiative will brand New Orleans as the best place to Meet, Sleep, Eat and Play.  
    
This branding position focuses on the city’s key attributes that will aid in earning corporate meetings business through a focused sales effort.  

“Showcasing our unique attributes is the key to selling the city,” proclaimed J. Stephen Perry, President of NOMCVB.  “Through the pooling of funds, we were able to maximize our exposure to corporate meeting decision-makers which will ultimately benefit the entire hospitality industry.”  Perry goes on to explain that this is the second step in a move to market the city in the post-9/11 arena.  Phase I focused on the sales calling blitz earlier this year.  Phase II consisted of the “New Orleans Lagniappe” staggered mailing. Phase III consists of entertaining key respondents with WOW Tours to New Orleans to demonstrate what our distinctive city has to offer.

“September 11th changed the way we all do business,” stated Paul D. Buckley, GM/Vice President of Hilton New Orleans Riverside.  “This initiative shows how hotels and the NOMCVB can cooperate to earn business for the city that benefits the entire tourism industry.  Tourism is our livelihood, we have to protect and grow it in every way.”

Kent Wasmuth, NOMCVB Vice President of Convention Sales, is optimistic with the early results.  “With the campaign entering its fifth week, it has yielded 779 responses, including 115 very interested inquiries, 19 true leads and one official piece of business for June 2005.  This clearly demonstrates that New Orleans remains a strong meetings destination in spite of the current economic conditions.”

The campaign, which yielded a first-time cooperative effort from leading hotels, earned the support of key New Orleanians Emeril Lagasse, who lent his assistance to draw meetings to New Orleans, and New Orleans native artist, Dr. Bob, whose artistic style created the local folk art look.  
    
The initiative consists of a direct response mechanism that was mailed on a postcard to over 15,000 key decision-makers with a call to action to send off for some “New Orleans Lagniappe.”  This response mechanism, a Lagniappe box with items portraying meeting, sleeping, eating and playing in the Crescent City, includes an audio CD tour of the city narrated by the fictional character Terrance Lucas Jefferson, (otherwise known as Lucky).   Recipients are directed to respond through a 1-800 line where they hear Emeril welcome them to the city or through a dedicated website (www.neworleanscvb.com/lagniappe).  
    
“This NOMCVB/hotel partnership provides an excellent opportunity for our new hotel which will open this December,” remarked Steve Ferran, General Manager of Loews New Orleans Hotel.   “Adding this new branding position for New Orleans to our marketing mix is simple and smart.”
    
Participating hotels included Astor Crowne Plaza, Doubletree Hotel New Orleans, Embassy Suites New Orleans, Fairmont Hotel, Hilton New Orleans Riverside, Hotel Monteleone, Hyatt Hotel New Orleans, Loews New Orleans Hotel, New Orleans Marriott, Omni Royal New Orleans, Royal Sonesta Hotel, Sheraton New Orleans, Ritz-Carlton New Orleans, and Windsor Court.  All hotel members of the NOMCVB were invited to participate.  
    
“The Lagniappe corporate meetings initiative truly reflects a cooperative spirit between the NOMCVB and sponsor hotels.  The focus of this project is to communicate New Orleans’ place as a corporate meetings market, and all partners have put aside any need to promote their own properties to ensure that the City was entirely in the spotlight,” explained

Jeffrey S. Zehnder, President/CEO of Zehnder Communications, who worked with the initiative to concept and develop the project.  “This is truly a first time for New Orleans’ hospitality community to come together to this extent, and it is paying big dividends.”

The New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau markets and promotes  the city of New Orleans as a top-tier destination for leisure travel, meetings and conventions. The non-profit organization also partners with state and local economic-development efforts to help attract and retain new business the region. Through NOMCVB leadership and member programs, the New Orleans hospitality industry generate s more than $4.5 billion annually, attracting eight million visitors to the city each year. The NOMCVB was founded in 1960, and today has more than 1,200 members.


 
Contact:
Cheryn Robles
Zehnder Communications, Inc.
650 Poydras
Suite 2450
New Orleans, LA 70130
Phone:   504-558-7778
crobles@z-comm.com

 
Also See: Dallas Hoteliers, CVB Staff and Mayor Laura Miller Blitz Chicago Based Associations; Fight Hard to Maintain Convention Fair Share / September 2003
Pittsburgh's New Convention Center Has booked 30 Conventions in 2003, Exceeding the Projected 20 for the First Year of Operation / September 2003


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